Offering a baby the first taste of something that is other than breast milk or formula is quite a big thing. Some tips to follow when first introducing a baby to other foods is to do so when they are not full or tired.
Many parents are aware on when do babies eat baby food but they don’t have ideas as to which foods to start them on. Usually parents star with pureed foods.
When Do Babies Start To Eat Baby Foods
Some say that the most appropriate time to introduce a baby to different baby foods is when the baby has acquired the skills needed to eat. If a woman is breastfeeding doctors generally advise to wait until a baby is at least 6 months old. Everyone is different and there might well be occasions where babies might be ready for solids sooner than that. This concept of moving a baby onto solid foods cannot be rushed and you should wait until your baby is at least 4 months old and shows relevant positive signs and behaviors before introducing solids. Moving a baby towards solid foods is often called “weaning“. Health professionals agree that this is the best age as any time prior to this means the digestive system is not developed enough to cope with the demand of solid foods.
It is advised that if you are breastfeeding, feeding only breast milk up to around the age of six months provides a baby with extra protection against infection. Breastfeeding over six months alongside solid foods can continue to protect a baby. When bottle feeding, babies should be given baby formula infant until around the age of six months and continue it beyond, along with solid foods. If it appears like a baby is hungry then they can be given additional milk feeds.
In order for babies to eat they need to have an element of good head and neck control and are able to sit upright with support and are able to hold up their head and neck. An example would be being able to sit up in a high chair, which generally doesn’t happen until they are aged 4 to 6 months old. Another factor is that if you attempt to feed babies solid food to soon, you may notice that food is pushed out of the mouth just as quickly as it is put in.This is a natural tongue thrust reflex and babies begin to lose his around 4 to 6 months of age and allows them to start eating solid foods.
Signs That Suggest Your Little One Is Ready To Have Solid Foods
When a baby is able to sit in a high chair this is a milestone and indication that they may be able to switch to solid foods, particularly if they are around the 4-6 month age range. Safety considerations should however always should be followed such as ensuring the buckle is fastened and the baby is secured into the chair for safety.There are a number of other factors that could be indicative that a baby is ready to eat solid foods:
- They show a distinct interest in other foods reach for it and open mouths when it approaches
- they have the oral skills needed to move food to the throat and swallow it
- Birth weight has almost doubled
- Food can be kept in the mouth without dribbling out
- The baby can stay in a sitting position and hold their position and head steady.
- They have an element of co-ordination in their eyes, hands and mouth
- They can swallow and process food.
Which Foods Are Good To Your Little New Eaters ?
When timing is right to introduce a baby to solid foods it is usually a good idea to start with something similar to rice cereal or single grain cereal. The suggested amount would be to start with small quantities, perhaps one or two tablespoons of cereal mixed with milk formula to ensure an appropriate consistency.
Once the baby gets the hang of eating cereal other foods can be introduced such as pureed fruits, meats and vegetables. Time should be taken when introducing new food to babies allowing time to ensure there are no adverse reactions to particular types of food. It may take a number of different attempts at trying certain foods before a baby starts to enjoy it. You should be persistent and not give up after only the first or second attempt if the baby doesn’t seem to like it. Some Food examples that could be tried are:
- mashed or potato, apple or pear
- puréed rice or baby rice
- pieces of soft fruit or veg
It can be useful to have kept some jars or packets of foods readily available for trying out as and when the times are appropriate.
No Fruit Juices Please !
It is argued that there is no benefit to giving fruit juices to babies and they are not recommended. Fruit juices can easily make babies full and therefore don’t leave room for the foods that would have a nutritional benefit. It may also cause further issues such as diarrhea or issues with teeth as they start to come through.
New foods and textures should be introduced to babies as through a slow process as they don’t necessarily have lots of teeth to assist them with handling the texture in their foods. After a few weeks of adjusting to eating as opposed to just drinking food, babies should be ready to handle more texture in solid foods they are given.
Health professionals are sympathetic to the apparent difficulties parents face feeding babies nothing but breast milk or formula for six months and the temptation to do otherwise. Medical experts argue that little benefits can come from feeding solid foods to a baby before they are physically ready. Trying to force a baby to eat solid foods before they are developed enough is not only difficult but dangerous to. If babies have yet to develop the mechanisms that allow them to process solid food safely it can lead to medical complications or even other illnesses such as gastroenteritis and diarrhea.
Medical professionals seek to assist parents in this process by educating and providing relevant information and assisting them in recognising the relevant signals that may be symbolic in helping identify a particular stage in a baby’s development. Doing so can ensure parents are well informed and can adapt to situations according such as recognising when it’s time to shift to solid foods.